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Monday
Nov192012

This Week's Trivia--Presidential Skinny Dip

As part of his daily fitness regimen while in office, which President was known to skinny dip in the Potomac River on a regular basis?

Hint--While there's no record that he did it, his intinery could lead us to believe that he had also swum in the Amstel in Amsterdam, the River Spree (or the Havel) in Berlin, and the Neva in St. Petersburg.

All right, let's make it multiple choice.

A--John Quincy Adams

B--James Polk

C--Franklin Pierce

D--Millard Fillmore

E--James Buchanan

The only one who served diplomatic stints in the Netherlands, Prussia, and Russia would be John Quincy Adams so the answer to the Potomac swimmer is A, JQA.  If any other Presidents did so, I haven't heard.  JQA, of course, served 20 years or so in Congress after he failed to get re-elected President in 1828 (beaten by whom?  Andrew Jackson of course).

Ain't history fun?

I'm nearly finished the fantastic new Ulysses Grant biography by W. H. Brands (The Man Who Saved The Union).  There's a new Jeffereson bio just out, not to mention a new book of Kurt Vonnegut letters, and a new Mitch Rapp thriller (cotton candy for the mind) by Vince Flynn.

Now that the election is over, I'm weaning myself off the news, allowing more time in the reading room.

Here's the proof (from Google).

  • President Adams regularly swam nude in the Potomac River. Anne Royall, the first American professional journalist, knew of Adams' 5 A.M. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had interviewed a president.
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